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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Nelly Furtado Is Making Me Sad
Friday, June 30, 2006

It’s disappointing when an artist you respect releases a song that’s far below your standards for them, and in some cases is probably far below their own standards for themselves. It’s even sadder when the entire country embraces that song like it’s something special. Currently falling into the category of “your music used to mean something but now it’s disposable so American music fans love you” is Nelly Furtado. When “Promiscuous” first hit it annoyed me because I know she’s capable of far better, and now that it has propelled her latest album, Loose, to number one the Billboard charts a depressing trend continues; dumbing down your music, selling out, and being a whore will make you famous.

As soon as “Promiscuous” debuted on radio I was disappointed with the turn Ms. Furtado’s career was taking. The song has a bangin Timbaland beat (he only makes bangers), but the lyrics are nothing short of awful. Yeah, two people flirting with each other, each looking for a one night stand, not exactly ground breaking material. Before she went and got promiscuous, however, she had something to say. Her first single ever, “I’m Like A Bird,” included the lyric “I don’t know where my soul is, I don’t know where my home is,” and then she hit everyone with some more food for thought with her second album Folklore.

Folklore’s lead single, and please remember this was the album right before Loose, was “Powerless,” a song about Furtado and her culture. Let’s take a look at some sample lyrics from “Powerless.”

Paint my face in your magazines
Make it look whiter than it seems
Paint me over with your dreams
Shove away my ethnicity

Cuz this life is too short to live it just for you
But when you feel so powerless, what are you gonna do

And compare them with her current hit single “Promiscuous.”

Promiscuous boy
You already know
That I’m all yours
What you waiting for?

Roses are red
Some diamonds are blue
Chivalry is dead
But you're still kinda cute

Is it any wonder that I’m disappointed in the music buying public? The second set of lyrics is a monster hit while the first set didn’t sell at all. Are we really that dumb, or are we simply that disinclined to use our brains? I understand not everyone wants to be bombarded with thought all the time, but we used to want something more out of our music than simply a dance-able tune we could dispose of in a few months. This is indicative of our culture right now, though, here today gone tomorrow. In 2006 the concept of substance and lasting power is one that isn’t necessarily foreign, but is simply uncared for. Nobody cares if what they’re listening to, what they’re watching or what they’re doing, has an substance to it.

Nelly Furtado is an unfortunate scapegoat in this discussion, but a worthy one none the less. Her last two lead singles illustrate everything that’s wrong with the listening public today. Substance over a funky beat, or fluff over club banger? People have made their choice and now I’m afraid a potentially great artist will have her creativity stifled by it. Eventually she’ll say to herself, “why should I try to make deep songs that matter when all I have to do is act like a whore and sell 200,000 copies in my first week?” Because your deep stuff matters, that’s why! I hope you know that Ms. Furtado and I hope somewhere you have a notebook full of dope songs just waiting to be sung that are more like your previous efforts because “Promiscuous” ranks as a powerless tune while “Powerless” was something relevant.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 9:47 AM  
  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger Andrew said…

    hope you're prepared for some more controversy with this one, Adam.

    but, i was surprised when I saw "Promiscous" for the first time too. She looks and sounds so uncomfortable and unnatural. I was never really a "fan" of Furtado but I did like about half of her songs and at least respected what she did. I don't know why she felt the need to go so far to the right just for the sake of getting more popular. I know it's standard to "dumb down" the lead single, but considering what she's done in the past, this just struck me as a real strange.

  • At 11:53 AM, Blogger Lisa said…

    Man, I haven't been to your blog in a LONG minute. I heard the beat of this song, and I was like 'Yeah, I'm gonna download it!". And then I heard the lyrics...

    I wrote this in my blog the other day:
    I saw that Promiscuous Nelly Furtado video this morning, and felt kind of disgusted. The song is alright, the message is completley wrong, but what really bothers me is seeing Timbaland in a wife beater, a 50 centish looking one (Timbaland has to be pushing 50), sans his signature hat, and the I'm Like A Bird Girl booty poppin. It just ain't right.

    Oh! And why does Justin Timberlake just suddenly appear out of nowhere in that video? One of life's great mysteries...

    But I completely agree with you. I can't believe I haven't been to your blog in so long. It's good stuff, mayne.

  • At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Paint my face in your magazines
    Make it look whiter than it seems
    Paint me over with your dreams
    Shove away my ethnicity ....

    adam ... why are you dissapointed? Furtado is never intelligent (make it whiter than it seems!!!- For petew's sake, that bimbo is portuguese and the last time i check, Portuguese people are white!!!) .. Furtado is a just another pop girly who had no boobs to show, no dance steps to flaunt and no vocal chops to impress. "Promiscious girl" is Furtado at her most artful and strongest

  • At 9:58 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    Love the feedback! Thanks ya'll. One thing, though, to Anonymous:

    Portuguese = Latin

  • At 1:14 AM, Blogger Andrew said…

    Anonymous, Furtado and some other Portugese people may be "white" in terms of race or whatever (race itself is extremely arbitrary to begin with), but the "whiter than it seems" thing is about magazines airbrushing and changing images to make people appear to be even "whiter" (fairskinned). It's common practice and a frequent complaint of blacks, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, etc. They've done it to everyone from Beyonce to Eva Mendez to Furtado and all shades in between.

  • At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi,, this is the anonymous who posted the previous "anonymous" comment. The beef i have with Furtado is the fact that so many white artists these days are trying to go that "ethnic" route just to be played in hip-hop radio stations or just to be more credible. Girlies like Furtado, Aguilera and a throng of those valley chicks are all of a sudden transformed into these ghetto-dwelling hoebags just to sell more. Furtado is white, and white she has been, and white she will be. Promiscious is her "American Pie", her "creme de la creme", her "catcher in the rye" .

  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger Andrew said…

    Furtado is Portuegese and grew up in Canada. If you think that's the same as a "valley girl" gringo, your beef isn't with her.

  • At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Man you're forever gonna be irrelevant. There's nothing wrong with being ignorant. It's enjoying your ignorance and not accepting when you're wrong is what I have a problem with. I can honestly assume that your intent is to be adverse to everything that Adam says in his blog. Get a life.

  • At 8:49 AM, Anonymous ariel said…

    I absolutely agree with this post... I was so disappointed to see furtado release this song, and then on top of that, it becoming wildly popular. I have never been a huge nelly furtado fan but I had her first album and I really liked it, I thought it was some real quality music. it's sad to see her downgrade like this.

  • At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Her performance on David Letterman seemed really forced as well: I was flipping around the channels and saw someone bent over and showing her ass to the camera. I though it must be Nelly Furtado doing her whore thing. And of course it was, and before you know it she was then flipping her hair back.

    Isn't hair flipping exactly what Pink describes in "I don't want to be a stupid girl"?

  • At 7:37 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    hey just thought I'd say, I agree with every single word in that article, it is really really depressing for something like that to happen to a person

  • At 11:41 PM, Blogger Adam Bernard said…

    Thanks for the props. I have to say, I'm slightly amazed at how long a life this post has lead. People are still commenting on it over a year and a half later!

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